VR Therapy Cost Analysis

This guide explains how to estimate the cost per usage of VR therapy software, hardware, and (optional) Internet/Wi-Fi service. These estimates can be useful for comparing costs of different VR therapy products, cost justifying adding VR to a therapy practice, or are considering charging clients extra for therapy using VR. For another perspective on these costs, compare System-Cost-Per-Session with average income or reimbursement per treatment session. 

Start by estimating these values:

  • System-Useful-Life: how long do you expect to be using this VR system with clients? Assume 60 months (5 years) unless you have a reason to use a different duration, such as a specific contract period or retirement plans.

  • System-Initial-Cost: total of all one-time costs for hardware purchases, software license fees, installation, setup, etc.

  • Internet/Wi-Fi-Cost per month: if there are monthly charges for Internet/Wi-Fi access required to support VR therapy, and that would not be required otherwise. Installation charges and any networking equipment purchase prices can be included in the System-Initial-Cost below.

  • System-Recurring-Costs: cost per month including any monthly charges for the VR therapy product usage fees, Internet/Wi-Fi-Cost, maintenance contracts, etc.

  • System-Salvage-Value: how much can the equipment be sold for at the end of the System-Useful-Life period? After a 5-year System-Useful-Life the equipment probably has zero resale value; if your System-Useful-Life value is less than 5 years, estimate how much of the System-Initial-Cost you might be able to recover.

The System-Lifetime-Cost includes the cost to acquire the product, plus recurring costs associated with the product over its useful life, minus the salvage value at the end of the useful life (if any):

  • System-Lifetime-Cost = System-Initial-Cost + (System-Recurring-Costs * System-Useful-Life) – System-Salvage-Value


Usage factors can be estimated as follows: 

  • VR-Sessions-Per-Week: in an average work week, about how many therapy sessions are likely to utilize VR resources?

  • Work-Weeks-Per-Year: how many weeks per year are available for client treatments? If your office closes for 10 holidays per year, start with 50-work weeks per year and subtract personal time off (in weeks) and other times that are not available for client sessions.


Usage costs can be estimated using these formulas:

  • System-Cost-Per-Year = System-Lifetime-Cost / (System-Useful-Life / 12)

  • System-Cost-Per-Week = System-Cost-Per-Year / Work-Weeks-Per-Year

  • System-Cost-Per-Session = System-Cost-Per-Week / VR-Sessions-Per-Week

Some therapists or clinics absorb the cost of VR equipment as part of providing high quality care; others raise fees across the board to cover these expenses. Some European countries reimburse VRT sessions at a higher rate than non-VRT psychotherapy sessions. It will be interesting to see whether this change spreads and is adopted by other countries and insurance providers. 

Charging more for VRT sessions also raises some issues. Is a higher fee charged, no matter how much session time is actually spent in VR? What if the client gets queasy or does not respond to VR? Will a higher charge be a barrier to suggesting VRT or for clients agreeing to it?